Category Archives: Life Lessons Learned

Life Lessons Learned – my thoughts on how living the gospel makes me happier and more content!

On Self-Pity and Murmuring…

A dear friend of mine called the other day. She was having a really hard day and needed to vent. I had some pent up emotions and energy (read stress) from my latest doctor’s appointment. So, naturally, we let go with all the frustrations. I felt a bit bad when I thought about the conversation. I don’t think that I was very encouraging for her and that is what I would rather be. Later that week, she sent me a screen shot of a quote that really helped me to think of ways I could improve, and I thought I would share it with you all:

“Murmuring can also be noisy enough that it drowns out the various spiritual signals to us, signals which tell us in some cases to quit soaking ourselves indulgently in the hot tubs of self-pity. Murmuring over the weight of our crosses not only takes energy otherwise needed to carry them but might cause another to put down his cross altogether. Besides, brothers and sisters, if we were not carrying so much else, our crosses would be much lighter. The heaviest load we feel is often from the weight of our unkept promises and our unresolved sins, which press down relentlessly upon us. In any genuine surrendering to God, one says, “I will give away all my sins to know Thee.” (Alma 22:18) To whom should we give our sins? Only Jesus is both willing and able to take them!”

~ Elder Neal A. Maxwell

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It’s Been A Long Year…

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It has been a long year…I haven’t posted since February when I started having some health concerns diagnosed after many years of often excruciating pain when those took over my “spare” time. (hahaha!!) I have had one surgery, am scheduled for another one, and possibly need another one and feel that I see my doctors way too often, but I am so thankful for modern medicine and the abilities we have to not suffer needlessly – when we take care of it. What a blessing that is for us! And there have been many tender mercies of the Lord along the way. I am grateful for the ability to recognize those mercies. I am also grateful for a loving family who have put up with taking care of my share of the responsibilities as I recover.

Maybe soon I can be more like I was…I hope. 🙂 I say that because the younger girls have been obsessed with looking at the pictures on my computer and I realized that we used to do a lot more things. I suppose that those started tapering off about the time I started having these issues 8 years ago, which means my younger kids haven’t had nearly as many cool adventures as I would like. So my goal next year (after recovering from all my surgeries) is to make time for that again…a day at the lake, a day hiking a new trail, exploring a new place on a day trip, going to the zoo and spending time enjoying it, visiting the art museum, history museums, and all the historical places within a couple of hours from here. I think it would be fun to just go pain free for once. 😉

So, all this to say that I actually have a few pictures from things we’ve done this year as well as more book reviews for my classic book challenge, so look for those in the next few weeks as I try to get back on top of things.

A Thinking Love

I have been re-reading Charlotte Mason’s book Home Education (Vol. 1 in the Original Homeschooling Series) and thinking about her comment “that mothers owe their children a thinking love…” when she quotes Pestalozzi in the questions a mother needs to ponder about her child:

 “The mother is qualified…by the Creator Himself, to become the principal agent in the development of her child; … and what is demanded of her is––a thinking love … God has given to the child all the faculties of our nature, but the grand point remains undecided––how shall this heart, this head, these hands be employed? to whose service shall they be dedicated? A question the answer to which involves a futurity of happiness or misery to a life so dear to thee.”  (pg. 2, emphasis mine) 

She continues on explaining a bit more of her educational philosophy of “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life” by discussing how important it is that we as parents teach our children correct habits for life through our “strenuous incessant efforts…to producing a…human being at his best.” (pg. 5)  She uses the phrase “at his best” several times throughout the next few pages.

If we as mothers are going to teach this child’s heart, his mind, his hands, and direct his spirituality, HOW are we going to do so?

The answer is simple – by giving him what he needs, including boundaries (or laws) if you will.

One step, of course, is the habit training that starts as soon as a child is up and moving, learning about the world around him. This training is not just about teaching good personal grooming habits, but includes learning to work, to get along with others of all ages, learning to think, to be helpful, and to contribute to society. If we want our children to be at their best, it is something that is going to require some serious thought and prayer – and a lot of hard work.

Reflecting on this concept, I kept going back to Miss Mason’s thoughts in the Preface to the Home Education series when she says:

“As a stream can rise no higher than its source, so it is probable that no educational effort can rise above the whole scheme of thought which gives it birth; and perhaps this is the reason of all the fallings from us, failures, and disappointments that mark our educational records…”  

While she was referring to a philosophy of education, I couldn’t help but think of the correlation of a philosophy of parenting as well. Re-read this statement with the word “parental” replacing the word “educational”:

“As a stream can rise no higher than its source, so it is probable that no [parental]  effort can rise above the whole scheme of thought which gives it birth; and perhaps this is the reason of all the fallings from us, failures, and disappointments that mark our [parental] records…”  

The proof is in our society: many parents have abdicated that training and guiding role for education, character development, and spirituality for others to take care of, and it is reflected in the dismal statistics of poverty, crimes, hatred, and broken homes. No one can take the place of “parental thinking love.”  Miss Mason knew this and she worked hard to empower families – mothers in particular – with the practical hows, with the staying power of grand and glorious ideas of WHY behind them.

For more reading on A Thinking Love, download Sonya Shafer’s free ebook here.

The Comforter

President Henry B. Eyring recently spoke on The Comforter (another name for the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit) and he said some really profound things that I am still thinking on, so I thought I would share them with you!

“…you have felt He knows you and loves you. You have felt His love for those seated around you. They are your sisters, spirit daughters of our Heavenly Father. He cares for them as He cares for you. He understands all their sorrows. He wants to succor them.

My message to you tonight is that you can and must be an important part of His giving comfort to those who need comfort. You can play your part best if you know more of how He answers those prayers for help.

Many are praying to Heavenly Father for relief, for help in carrying their burdens of grief, loneliness, and fear. Heavenly Father hears those prayers and understands their needs. He and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Jesus Christ, have promised help. …

The burdens His faithful servants must carry in life are made lighter by His Atonement. The burden of sin can be taken away, but the trials of mortal life for good people can still be heavy burdens.

You have seen such tests in the lives of good people you love. You have felt a desire to help them. There is a reason for your feeling of compassion for them.

You are a covenant member of the Church of Jesus Christ. A great change began in your heart when you came into the Church. You made a covenant, and you received a promise that began changing your very nature. …

That is why you have a feeling to want to help a person struggling to move forward under a load of grief and difficulty. You promised that you would help the Lord make their burdens light and be comforted. You were given the power to help lighten those loads when you received the gift of the Holy Ghost. …

I have seen that miracle time and time again. We lighten the loads of others best by helping the Lord strengthen them. That is why the Lord included in our charge to comfort others the command to be His witnesses at all times and in all places. …

His love never fails, and we never will cease to feel in our hearts the urge “to mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” Nor will the peace He promises ever leave us as we serve others for Him.”

 To see the entire message, click here.

Did this message help you see or feel differently about service and comforting those that mourn? Leave a comment!

Listening Is More

Listening is More

“Listening is more than being quiet. Listening is much more than silence. Listening requires undivided attention. The time to listen is when someone needs to be heard. The time to deal with a person with a problem is when he has the problem. The time to listen is the time when our interest and love are vital to the one who seeks our ear, our heart, our help, and our empathy.”

~ Elder Marvin J. Ashton

from Family Communications, Ensign, May 1976, 53

Share The Gift

Last week, as my personal traditions dictate, we put up our Christmas trees and decorations on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That evening, we learned that my husband’s work partner had been killed in a car accident, leaving behind 4 children aged 3 weeks to about 10 years. We were sorrowful and very concerned for the family. Obviously, we didn’t get the decorating done like normal! Shopping – never my favorite thing anyway – was stressing me out because all the sales were going on and I wanted desperately to catch a few. I was becoming consumed over the death of this friend, worrying about money, trying to get my thoughts (and house!) organized. 

On Sunday. I was almost finished setting up our Nativity when some friends came by. They invited us to watch this short little video called “He is the Gift”, so of course, we did. Honestly, I didn’t “feel in the mood” when we started, but I was so thankful I had agreed to watch it by the time it was over! The Spirit of this beautful video is so strong! I felt such a sweet, calm peace when it was over. In all the uncertainty of life over the weekend, the pressure to be sure to catch that sale, the desire to have a beautifully decorated house, I had temporarily forgotten the reason for it.

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Jesus is THE Gift and through His atonement and grace, He has given me everything I really want and need.

Now that the atmosphere is set, I can concentrate on all the sweet traditions that help us to focus on Him during this season: singing carols, reading scriptures about His life and mission, participating in our daily advent calendar, baking cookies for friends and neighbors, enjoying our Advent wreath and candles, the wonderful Christmas Eve dinner and the appearance of the baby Jesus to sleep in the manger filled with straw placed one piece at a time for each act of service given, received, or observed.  These are some of the things that I do to share the gift with my children and friends.

Here is a link to the video:

http://www.mormon.org/christmas  – click the “view video” button.

Please watch it and let me know in the comments how you Share the Gift.